Two gray-haired ladies in pedal pushers
stand on the curb
near American Express in Rome.
They brighten at our Texas drawls,
ask if we are in the Vatican tour.
One fans herself against the August heat
with a crumpled city map,
shares a laugh about Italian disdain
for ice and air conditioning.
From New York,
she has been following
an itinerary like our own--
Venice, Florence and now the eternal city--
ten days of foreign flavors,
the trip of a lifetime.
Knowing we will forget her name
along with all the others we learn that day,
we climb on the bus
behind her friend and ask about jobs back home.
She glances back, flashes a smile.
Oh, I work in the World Trade Center.
I’m sure you know the place